LaLiga Matchday 32: A statistical guide to this weekend’s games

Atletico Madrid will look to take another step towards the LaLiga title against Athletic Bilbao

Atletico Madrid will look to take another step towards the LaLiga title against Athletic Bilbao

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The LaLiga title race looks set to go to the wire. 

Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona are only separated by five points at the summit — and Barca have a game in hand.

Competition for a Europa League spot is just as fierce, with Real Sociedad, Real Betis and Villarreal vying for two spots. 

At the foot of the table, a case can still be made for six teams being at risk of the drop. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, no side’s fate has yet been decided.

Real Madrid vs Real Betis (Saturday, 8pm)

Zinedine Zidane’s men have won 11 of their 16 LaLiga outings since the turn of the year.

Alongside Sevilla, they are the form team in the league over the last six matches, picking up 16 points. 

Despite this, anything other than a win on Saturday severely dents their hopes of retaining the title. Meanwhile, the visitors also find themselves in a tricky situation. 

Winless in four, they have only lost one of their last 10 games and currently find themselves in possession of the last Europa League place. 

Karim Benzema and Real Madrid know three points is a must
Karim Benzema and Real Madrid know three points is a must

But Manuel Pellegrini’s side are finding goals hard to come by, scoring two or more in just two of their last six outings. 

However, in Real Madrid’s 3-2 victory over Betis earlier in the season, the hosts actually outshot Madrid by 15 efforts to 11. 

Saturday’s other games

Elche vs Levante (1pm)
Real Valladolid vs Cadiz (3.15pm)
Valencia vs Alaves (5.30pm)

Villarreal vs Barcelona (Sunday, 3.15pm)

Barca’s 19-game unbeaten streak ended in El Clasico a fortnight ago.

But during that remarkable run, Ronald Koeman guided his side to 16 victories as they clawed their way back into title contention. 

The Blaugrana also got back to winning ways on Thursday evening, romping to a 5-2 victory over Getafe.

 The star of the show, once again, was Lionel Messi. 

The legendary Argentine scored twice and created one to take his tally to 12 goals and seven assists in his last 10 outings. 

Barcelona smashed this weekend’s hosts 4-0 earlier in the season. Since then, Villarreal have not conceded more than two goals in a LaLiga match. 

Unai Emery has found a way to get the best out of attacker Gerard Moreno and the versatile Spain international has 20 goals from 26 starts — a haul only bettered by Karim Benzema (21) and Messi (25).

Sevilla vs Granada (Sunday, 5.30pm)

A win for the hosts guarantees a place in the top four and there is even still a remote chance they can win the league. 

Sevilla find themselves just six points behind Atleti and have won six of their last seven. 

Youssef En-Nesyri's Sevilla side are still in the title race
Youssef En-Nesyri's Sevilla side are still in the title race

Opponents Granada are also in with a shot of finishing in a Europa League spot.

They find themselves seven points behind Betis but have a game in hand and still have to travel to the Estadio Benito Villamarin. 

It is worth noting, however, that Diego Martinez’s side do not travel too well. 

They have conceded more than two goals per match and have kept a clean sheet in just 13% of their games when not playing at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes this season.

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid (Sunday, 8pm)

Atleti’s early season form was almost flawless. Diego Simeone’s side won 16 of their opening 19 matches, losing just once. 

A LaLiga title win — their first since 2014 — appeared at that stage to be a formality. But in their last 13 outings, Los Rojiblancos have picked up only 25 points. 

Unfortunately for them, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been in rampant form and have racked up 34 and 32 points respectively in that period. 

Up until recently, the goals had also dried up for Atleti. Their 5-0 win over Eibar was the first time they had managed more than two goals in a match since January. 

But their hosts on Sunday are winless in April. In fact, the last time they picked up maximum points in a game was in the first week of March. 

During their barren run of form, Marcelino’s men have averaged less than one goal per 90 minutes. 

Sunday’s other games

Huesca vs Getafe (1pm)
Celta Vigo vs Osasuna (5.30pm)

Eibar vs Real Sociedad (Monday, 8pm)

Eibar have won just once since the turn of the year and find themselves rooted to the bottom of LaLiga — but are still only five points from safety. 

Survival is unlikely but not impossible. 

They have failed to score in over half of their home matches this term but have kept clean sheets in a third of their games at the Ipurua. They are also currently averaging 0.5 goals per 90 minutes while conceding 1.19 on home turf. 

Visiting Sociedad will fancy their chances and will be buoyed by the knowledge that a win keeps them in the Europa League places. 

They have actually conceded fewer goals (0.93 to 1.18) when playing away from home but have picked up just one win in their past five games.

Tags

Real MadridBarcelonaAtletico MadridAthletic BilbaoReal BetisVillarrealGranadaSevillaEibarReal Sociedad